A closely-watched and controversial piece of legislation in Texas that would have required public schools to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom failed to pass on Tuesday night, The Daily Beast reported.
"The bill, which passed the state Senate in April, was effectively scrapped early Wednesday as House lawmakers failed to secure a vote for the bill before a midnight deadline," reported Dan Ladden-Hall. "The proposals would have ordered schools to show posters of the Ten Commandments 'in a conspicuous place in each classroom' and 'in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom.' Schools that did not have their own posters would have been made to accept donations of posters."
GOP state Sen. Phil King had claimed the bill would teach “students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation.” However, as CNN noted, it drew immediate backlash from experts who called it unconstitutional. “Parents should be able to decide what religious materials their child should learn, not the (Texas legislature),” said the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
The bill could theoretically be reintroduced, but there is very little time left in in legislative session to do so.
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The Ten Commandments, which under Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism were brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses, include some relatively generic moral teachings like a prohibition on murder and theft, but also contain several explicitly religious instructions that aren't necessarily applicable to the nonreligious or those of other faiths, like not worshiping idols or honoring the Sabbath.
Efforts to display the Commandments at public institutions have been fraught with legal issues, due to the First Amendment's ban on a state establishment of religion. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who famously lost in a stunning Senate special election in 2017 amid accusations of child molestation, originally was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court after refusing a federal court order to remove a stone monument depicting the Commandments from the rotunda of the state Judicial Building.